'Ghost Rider' Stays in the Saddle
Ghost Rider cooled but held the top spot as expected, The Number 23 added up to a relatively fair debut, and not much else transpired over a typically sedate final February weekend. After last weekend's bounty, overall business was down three percent from the same frame last year when Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion opened in first.

Lassoing $20.1 million, Ghost Rider burned off 56 percent, which was in line with the past two President's Day comic book adaptations, Daredevil and Constantine, in their second weekends. With $79 million in ten days, Ghost Rider whipped past Constantine as the highest-grossing hell-themed comic movie.

Jim Carrey's latest plunge into darkness, The Number 23, counted up $14.6 million at 2,759 theaters, which was on the high end for a descent-into-madness picture but below Secret Window with Johnny Depp. For Mr. Carrey, the reportedly $30 million horror thriller's start was well below average but bigger than most of his stretches from straightforward comedy or family fare. Distributor New Line Cinema played cutesy with the theater count—add each digit of 2,759 and the result is 23.

Among other openers, Reno 911!: Miami seized $10.3 million at 2,702 locations. The $10 million cable-show-based cop comedy packed more initial punch than the similar bungling police movie, Super Troopers, and sold about as many tickets initially as Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach.

The Astronaut Farmer sputtered off the launchpad, yielding $4.5 million at 2,155 sites. Hampered with no basis in reality and a lack of dramatic tension in its marketing, the start was sub-par even by the standards of modest aspirational pictures like October Sky and Tucker: The Man and His Dream.

Two independent distributors debuted movies in wide release to mixed results. After Dark's The Abandoned, which graduated from After Dark's Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die For last year, was ignored, grossing a mere $782,000 at 1,000 theaters. On the other hand, Samuel Golden Films and Roadside Attractions' Amazing Grace, an historical drama produced by Walden Media sister company Bristol Bay Productions (Ray), garnered $4.1 million at 791 venues.

Three of last weekend's other openers, Bridge to Terabithia, Music and Lyrics and Breach, each fell around 40 percent, while Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls tumbled 57 percent (in the range of Perry's previous movie, Madea's Family Reunion). Bridge to Terabithia's 37 percent drop was decent for a fantasy adventure (which is how it was marketed even though it's more a coming-of-age fantasy-drama) but steeper than past Walden Media pictures like Because of Winn-Dixie and Holes.

Bridge to Terabithia's Saturday was slightly bolstered by sneak previews for Buena Vista stable mate Wild Hogs. Per usual practice, Wild Hogs' grosses were counted toward Bridge. Opening next weekend, the road comedy played at 85 percent capacity on average at 820 sites.

In limited release, The Lives of Others showed some promise for a foreign picture in its third weekend. Sony Pictures Classics' German-language drama collected $441,256 at 58 locations, averaging $7,607 per site. Its cumulative gross is $1.3 million.


• 2/20/07 - 'Ghost Rider' Blazes in Debut

• 2/27/06 - 'Madea' Drags Moviegoers to 'Family Reunion' (Same Weekend, 2005)

• 2/28/05 - 'Mad Black Woman' Comes Out Swinging (Same Weekend, 2005)


Weekend Box Office Results

• Showdown: 'Ghost Rider' Vs. 'Daredevil'

NOTE: This report was originally written on Sunday, Feb. 25 and was revised on Monday, Feb. 26 with actual grosses.